Primary News

This term Stage 2 has been very industrious. The Primary Choir has reunited this term with the addition of new-interested members. Their commitment is evident with practices taking place during Thursday lunchtimes. They are enthusiastically rehearsing an item in preparation for the End of Year Concert.  

The MS Read-a-thon is in full swing. Children have been encouraged to read for a worthy cause and share what they are reading this month with the rest of the class. The children have also been creating posters to display around the school to bolster excitement. (There is still time to sign-up and get involved!) EMS teachers are also showing their own passion and love for reading by sharing the books they too have been reading… and also forming our own teachers’ book club!  

For art, the children have been doing ‘big work’ by collectively working on an ocean seascape. Each week (starting last term) they have been creating various sea creatures to include in the artwork. The children have been very proud of their accomplishments.   

Erica's Art Wall

Erica's Art Wall

On Friday the 28th of July we celebrated Friendship Day. The children were involved in a discussion about what qualities make a good friend and the importance of how to create positive friendships. They loved making their own friendship flowers and acrostic poems. We have created a friendship garden wall in our reading room. 

The children continue to participate in helping our Kindness Tree grow in each class. If a child observes another child do a "kind deed" for someone then they write it down on a love heart. We then share these lovely, kind deeds at group time and add them to our tree.  

In Italian the children have been learning a variety of words and songs. They loved looking at and discussing some of the famous attractions in Italy. They worked together in small groups to complete the puzzles Simona provided. 

The children in Stage 2T continue to bring in some wonderful and very interesting show and tell. This experience helps the child to develop their oral communication skills and build their confidence to speak in front of the class.  

The children continue to be enthusiastic about science. They have been researching a variety of science experiments and utilising the resources on the science shelf. The children are working on how to write a procedure and to record their observations in their science book.  

In the Stage 2 classrooms the children are working at their own individual levels throughout all the Montessori curriculum areas. In the pictures below the children are engaged in a variety of math work. Students are working on 4 digit static addition sums using the stamp game material, 100 board work and practicing multiplication using 1 digit and 2 digit multipliers with the checkerboard material.  

In the cultural area of the classroom the children have been working on completing the large continent puzzle maps. This experience involves a lot of concentration and focus. Once the child has completed the puzzle the next step is for them to colour  in the countries and label/name them. Our goal is for the child to have completed all the continent puzzle maps by the end of Stage 2, so they can have their very own keepsake atlas.  

In the area of Language, students are working on and developing their writing skills by learning a variety of Informative and Imaginative text. This includes how to research and write a report using their own language, how to write a recount using paragraphs, how to write a procedure in chronological order, using numbers to specify the sequence in the procedure and writing a narrative story to ensure they have a beginning, middle and end. The children are learning how to carefully structure these writing tasks and how to self correct their work. The older students are learning how to help/correct another student's work for them.
 
The students continue to develop their reading and comprehension skills in the literacy circles using reading comprehension strategies:

  1. Making Connections
  2. Inferring
  3. Predicting
  4. Questioning
  5. Monitoring
  6. Visualising
  7. Summarising 

A big Thank You, to Brooke Terry and Debbie Vazzoler for helping stage 2 cover our new reader books. We are still looking for more parent volunteers to cover the remaining books. Please inform Tracey or Erica if you are available to help with this. Thank you, Stage 2T and 2E

In Stage 3 we started off our term as always with our Term Goals. We use the SMART Goals system to ensure that goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely, and assess our progress on our last term’s goals. This is an important skill as it teaches children to break goals down into manageable chunks, and to reflect on their achievements and challenges.

This term we are looking at ancient civilisations. We have had the Third Great Lesson, The Coming of Humans, and have explored the timeline of man. Along with the traditional Montessori charts, we are watching the BBC documentary Walking with Cavemen, which helps illustrate the stages we can see on the timeline. Students are working on individual projects looking at different ancient civilisations that came after these early humans and are enjoying doing their research and discovering about the rise and fall of empires.

In language, we have been exploring different text types such as fiction and non-fiction texts, poems, documentaries and podcasts. Each week we have been listening to a podcast that poses a different ethical dilemma, which students write an initial response to and we then discuss as a class. This has led to a lot of great discussion! We have also been engaging in 30 minute writing sessions, in which students are encouraged to write in any text type and on any topic they choose in order to develop fluency in writing and encourage risk taking rather than over-editing and fear of making mistakes.

This term we have introduced a focus ‘Virtue of the Week’, looking at different virtues we may possess or can work on developing further. So far we have had kindness, tolerance, gentleness and honesty. We have been using the parts of speech to parse a passage about each week’s virtue, incorporating aspects of both language and social and emotional learning.

This term Stage 3 have voted to continue with our class business, Veggietastic. We have developed our planning and preparation processes as we learn, with skills in giving and receiving feedback, counting money and orders, budgeting for the week ahead and calculating profit, streamlining distribution and planning future improvements. Practical life skills such as cutting, peeling, and washing come into play, as well as critical thinking and problem solving when unexpected situations arise. Stage 3 students are becoming more and more independent with these skills and have a real ownership of the business.

Stage One News

Helpful Montessori Tips for Parents

Ten Little Reminders for Parents

 I’m not perfect. I am a loving, well-meaning, very caring, sometimes forgetful, often-busy parent. This, I think, puts me in the same boat with a whole lot of other people. Sometimes it helps to have a little reminder of all those good-parenting practices we really know deep down, but can sometimes forget in the hustle and bustle of our daily lives. So here, inspired by Maria Montessori’s wisdom, is a list of ten helpful tips for us not-quite-perfect parents.

Don’t forget the basics. Is your child getting enough sleep? Is she eating a healthy diet? Keep bedtime calm and consistent. Read or tell stories before bed. Keep bedtime the same throughout the week. Also, help your child learn to like nutritious foods by offering healthful options, but don’t force the child to eat. Limit alternatives and beverages other than water. Talk with your children about foods. Invite children to help with cooking and food preparation.

Let them help. In addition to helping out in the kitchen, involve children with many of life’s daily duties, especially those they express interest in. Some examples: setting the table, laundry, cleaning, helping to wash the car, etc. Take the time to show them, step by step, how to accomplish such tasks successfully. Don’t forget Maria Montessori’s wise words, “Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed.”                          

Provide the right tools. You’d be amazed how much children can do for themselves, especially when they have child-sized tools, furnishings, or utensils. Provide low shelves so that they can put away their own toys, books, etc. Even very young children can return things to their proper places, hang their own coats, put laundry in the basket and much more. Start with things like: a stepping stool, a small table and chairs, a scaled-down dustpan and broom, or cups, bowls and spoons just the right size for little hands.

Be consistently consistent. Unrushed, regular routines provide comfort and security. Whenever possible make every effort to allow adequate time, stick to schedules, and be on time (to school, etc.). Also, routinely leave unstructured time to play, explore, or just “be.” When things are out of the “norm” prepare your child for what’s to come. As much as possible, let them know in advance where you are going and when.

Grace and courtesy. Teach and (more importantly) model the way you want your children to act. Use polite manners and speak respectfully. Make eye contact, get down on their level, but don’t talk “down” to them. Talk about patience, kindness, honesty, sharing, helpfulness, and any other principles you value. Don’t interrupt, and teach children to do the same.

Read, read and read! Read together with your children every day. Make trips to the library or bookstore. Make reading a pleasant, enjoyable experience. Also play games, sing and tell jokes. Talk about words, and help them become aware of the sounds that make up the words. For example, ask “what begins with mmm?” or “what rhymes with cat?”

image5.jpeg

Stop and smell the roses. If possible, get outside with your children every day. Take walks together. Let the child set the pace. Stop and take notice of your surroundings. Talk about it, “what do you see/ hear/ smell/ etc.?” Let the child have a place (could just be a flowerpot) to grow things. Hang a birdfeeder and watch the birds together. Bundle up and go outside even when it’s cold or raining. Or help your child start a nature journal or collection.

Safety first! Teach your child to be safety-savvy. Most of us parents have “child-proofed” our homes, and we’ve tried to think of everything. The only drawback is that our children aren’t always at home. Explain the dangers of electric sockets, matches, heavy doors and lids, water, stairs, etc. Also, teach your child his address, phone number, and how to call 000. And finally, make sure your kids learn to swim.

Continue your own education. Build on your existing knowledge and gain a deeper understanding of your child’s stages of development.

 

Staff feedback and photos from last week's Cosmic Education Workshop

"The Cosmic Education workshop has been a great learning experience. I have thoroughly enjoyed having Primary and Secondary working together. It has really helped to enhance the knowledge of the cultural curriculum and synergy across the school."

"I love how in Montessori you always start with the whole "big picture" and then it breaks down into all the parts. The Five Great Lessons give the children are sense of awe and wonder. As a Montessori Directress it is our role to allow the children to think, wonder, discover and explore their ideas and thoughts. To say 'less' during some of these lessons is always 'best'. The Cosmic Education involves so many rich, wonderful hands on work for the children to be involved in and to make their own discoveries. Being part of this workshop with the Primary and High school team has been a lovely experience towards helping me broaden my understanding of the Cosmic Education. I have loved sharing my ideas on how we teach the subjects in a Stage 2 environment and then learning how the lessons progress through to a Stage 3,4,5 classes. I wish I had the opportunity during my schooling to be part of a Montessori environment. It is a beautiful opportunity to experience, where the possibilities are endless!!!" 

"We were fortunate in sharing Diane's experience in teaching children in an engaging way. She showed us the connections between the early learning and the adolescent program, which had more similarities than differences.The five great stories were factual based and used the real terminology with the children. A great workshop which gave me ideas to implement straight away."

IB News

This term brings the busiest time for our Year 12 IB cohort, as they are headed towards their Mock Exams which take place in weeks 6&7, as well as the submission of internal assessment items from all subjects. Students are also preparing to register with the Universities Admissions Centre this week, where they will make important decisions about their future careers. 

Last week saw all of the High School/IB teachers participate in the Montessori Cosmic Education Workshop. This professional development was invaluable to our continued growth as teachers, and really allowed us to connect our practice to all other areas of the school. We look forward to providing feedback to parents at the upcoming coffee morning!

Coming up in week 5 we have the Year 10 'IB Taster Day', where Year 10 students will have the opportunity to spend the day as an IB student. The Year 11 students will be presenting them with a showcase consisting of presentations in French, Business Management, and Theory of Knowledge. The Year 10's will then 'shadow' the Year 11's in their IB classes, being exposed to a range of different activities and experiences that will give them a taste of what is to come next year!

Written by Holly Wilson, Yr 11 IB student

Written by Holly Wilson, Yr 11 IB Student

Feet sliding against the wooden floors, music roaring throughout the small house, she moved ever so quickly.

 A cackle could be heard from behind her and she spun to where the noise came from. Her lips turned up, a gleam in her eyes that he had loved all these years. “Où t’es, papaoutai, où t’es, papaoutai, où t’es, papaoutai, où t’es, où t’es où papaoutai!”

A small, pale hand was held out, waiting for his embrace, and of course, he had to take it. Giggling together as if they were teens, they danced as the sun shone through the windows, casting an orange hue on their bodies and the unusual pieces she had loved collecting over the years. He could recall their first days spent together so clearly, and their first kiss and he had remembered how he had fallen absolutely, totally and utterly, head-over-heels in love with the woman before him.

Soon he felt a thudding in his temples and it was as if the music had encased him, his eyebrows furrowing, lips turned down. The muscles in her face fell with his as he looked around. “What are we doing?”

“Tell me something?” She asked with a raised eyebrow. He only hummed in response, lifting his greying hairs to match her expression.

“What did you have for breakfast this morning?” There was a desperate plea to her voice, as if she were begging. His eyes flicked across the room, before clearing his throat and answering, “I haven’t eaten yet. It is only 8 o’clock after all.”

Her head dropped into her hands, sighing. As her digits rubbed at her eyes and ran back down her face to drop by her sides, she looked at him despairingly. “Wrong. I made you eggs this morning and it is nearly eleven am.” His face remained blank before he began to walk away.

“When was the last time we saw little Joe and Mary?” Body spinning to face him, she spoke louder. Again, the wretched look crept back to rest upon her face. “Please, just tell me?” Imploring would be the only way to describe her need to know, filled with an unimaginable emptiness as she could feel him slip away with the passing seconds.

He stopped and looked up at her with withering eyes. “I don’t believe we have seen them in quite some time. I’ll go and give Johnny a ring and see if he’d like us to take them off his hands for a while.” He spun on his heel and walked towards the kitchen before stopping and turning back. And for a desperate, fleeting moment, she believed that maybe, just maybe, he had remembered. “Actually, I think I’ll pop over there and pick up those tools he borrowed a while back. Have you seen my keys?”

A barely audible croak arose from her throat, “Check the fridge.” She watched as his back turned to her and finally stalked off, toward the kitchen. Her knees began to wither and give in, slumping to the floor. She heard the sound of triumph and an inaudible noise before the door struck shut. Her hand wrapped around the small teddy bear that lay upon the floor, thinking of little Joe and how upset he would be that he had left it there the previous day.

A scream ripped through her throat as she cradled the little being, whimpering and sputtering, tears spilling over the edges of her eyes. Alone, was she.

And there she sat, completely and utterly hopeless. Desolate, as the love of her life fell between her fingers in front of her very eyes.

High School News

In reflecting upon our first semester for 2017 in the High School, it is quite remarkable to consider the many things that fill our days. Simply watching students' physical growth is almost tangible, and witnessing students' thoughts  in action and development in their ability to articulate is yet another achievement. Changing social dynamics and refining and deepening relationships are also evident...with more to come as we look forward.

Photos of our combined hike to Karloo pools with Sutherland Shire Montessori school  students are attached. Students and staff found the location a lot less daunting than our Mt Keira hills and our overnight "jaunt" earlier in the year. Karloo seems to be a great location for future camping adventures.

 

Late last term, the Stage 4 Italian students visited the Maritime Museum in Darling Harbour where they explored artefacts and information about Pompeii. Our Stage 5 Commerce students made their annual trip to the Downing Centre where they saw the judicial system in action. This no doubt, provided an excellent comparison to students' short film, A Day in Court, which made its debut at our showcase at the end of term. A truly brilliant work! A group of students also attended the World Vision Global Youth Leaders conference in Darling Harbour. This is a lead-up to the 40hr backpack challenge to be held this year. We will also have a visit from a World Vision representative this week, to talk about developing leadership in action.

All students are encouraged to take part in the MS Read-a-thon. (Teachers across the school) are also embracing the spirit of reading with their own book club. First on our list is Hannah Kent's "Burial Rites."

Year 8 and 9 students are in the process of choosing electives for study next year. We will be talking through subject outlines and requirements with students and the NESA website also provides a range of information.

The weeks ahead are quite busy. All HS staff will be taking part in a Cosmic Education workshop this week from Wednesday to Saturday. Year 10 students will be involved in a yoga session for 1 hour for 3 weeks beginning this Wednesday in Fairy Meadow. This has been organised as  Community activity by two students who have also organised fundraising to help subsidise costs. Another group will be involved in cooking for a local Homeless shelter in a few week's time. 

Further afield is our hosting of Meeting in the Middle, a national conference of Montessori Adolescent program practitioners. Plans are well underway and students will begin to plan their catering of the 3-4 day event. Sincere thanks to Michelle Hoess for her invaluable and immeasurable support in her attention to detail in helping to organise this event. Likewise, the enthusiasm and commitment of the High School teachers in offering to deliver presentations and workshops, facilitate discussions etc is commendable and quite inspiring. It must be the same spirit which is a part of other Montessori Adolescent programmes, as the response has been exciting! We are also planning some "goody bags" for our participants and would love to hear from any families who would like to donate items which can be a treat or showcase our region.

The following week will see us host the drama group from Templestowe College who will be bringing their travelling show to our school.

So whilst the days ahead are busy, there is something quite remarkable about what a "normalised" adolescent can offer... a sense of calm and perspective that will get us through...and lots of laughter.  We are very fortunate at Elonera to have these qualities with spare to share!

Alexandra Ioannou

High School Coordinator

Nido News

We have made a decision to begin referring to the Long Day Care as Nido. Some of you may be aware that the term Nido in a Montessori environment is usually meant for babies up to 2 years of age so you may be wondering why we have made that decision.

The Nido environment is usually the first class children in a Montessori school attend. Nido is an Italian word meaning ‘nest’.  It aims to support, nurture and protect a developing child. Our classroom is a warm, comforting and supportive environment where we take the utmost care to meet the developmental needs of all the children in our care. Both environments have activities and materials that are scaled to the children’s abilities and size.Movement is encouraged and the development of independence is emphasised.

Importance of Practical Life activities

The importance of practical life activities is to develop the child’s coordination, life skills and encourage independence. Many of the skills they practise are the same skills they will need in order to take care for themselves and look after a family of their own one day.

Like many of the activities in the Montessori environment, practical life activities have a direct and an indirect aim. The direct aim for instance can be to clean a plate, juice an orange or peel an egg. The indirect aim is far broader. It encourages deep concentration; it improves fine motor skills; it encourages the children to make intelligent choices and they have logical, sequential steps that the child needs to follow in order to complete the activity. These logical, sequential steps are developing the same part of the brain that the child will use later in life when it comes to writing and planning essays, completing a project or solving a mathematical problem.

Some of the practical life activities we have in the Nido class include:

-         Setting the table

-         Handing out glasses to their peers

-         Washing up after they have eaten

-         Cleaning the tables

-         Pouring water

-         Mopping up spills

-         Sweeping and using a dustpan

-         Juicing an orange

-         Grating cheese or a carrot

-         Slicing a cucumber

-         Using a pestle and mortar

-         Peeling an egg

-         Transferring with a hand or spoon

-         Dressing themselves

-         Washing their hands

Stage 2 News

The students have been learning a variety of text types. These include; how to research and write a report or project on a topic of interest, poems, narrative story writing, persuasive writing and procedures. It has been lovely to see the enthusiasm and team work involved in these writing tasks. In particular, we have had students who have been very excited to write a procedure for the science experience cards and then implementing these experiments in front of the class.

One of our students chose to write a procedure on how to clean and tidy your tray.

Procedure

Title: How to clean your tray

Things You Need:

-          Your tray

-          Your workbooks

What To Do:

Step 1: Take out your tray quietly and put it on desk ready to clean so it can be clean and tidy at the end of the morning work cycle.

Step 2: Take out all your books & your finished/unfinished folder. Organise all the pieces of paper. Any work you don’t need at school either throw them in the bin or take them home.

Step 3: Check your books and see if they are finished. If they are you can give them to your teacher so there is more room for your new books.

Step 4: Now you are done you can now put your workbooks back in your tray & put your tray away. The next time you go to your tray it will ne nice & tidy.

Now your tray is nice & tidy.

 You have now know how to clean your tray.

By Sofia

The students are  putting a lot of thought into their show and tell each week. Last week, Olivia shared her saxophone which she is learning to play and Alex brought along her ipad to share her soccer experience with her peers. It is beautiful to see our class members share what they are passionate about. During this time the class is learning to show respect towards their peers by listening and paying attention. They are also learning to think about relevant questions they can ask the student presenting their show and tell.

Show & Tell 1.JPG

 

A big thank you to our volunteers for listening to our students read this term. These students are progressing through the classroom reader books and some are practicing their sight words during this time. Thank you Sandra, Francesca’s grandmother and Sharlene, Duntae’s mum. The older students continue to participate in small group literacy circles once a week.  The older students in our class have been enjoying reading books to the class during group times.

Reading.JPG

Stage 2

As apart of “National Sorry Day” the school invited a guest speaker and an elder to speak to the children about what reconciliation meant. She shared artwork pieces with the students. The students were then involved in creating their own handprint to display in their classes. They also enjoyed colouring in the indigenous colouring templates that were provided.

 

 

Stage One News

Language in the Stage 1 Montessori Classroom
 
The Montessori 3-6 classroom is a natural extension of the patterns of communication that have already been absorbed. Through every conversation, every book read aloud, every new word that is taught, the Montessori student is learning language, and thus, learning to read.  In the Montessori Preschool/Kindergarten environment, emphasis is placed on the process of acquiring language.  Knowledge is constructed by mental and physical activity rather than on passive learning.  Writing is taught before reading through the direct and indirect aims of the Montessori Practical Life and Sensorial works.  In the Montessori 3- Language curriculum, writing itself is seen as a direct preparation for reading.

Montessori parents and educators use precise language that is neither too simplified or given to baby talk in order to give credence to the work the child is doing to acquire vocabulary and language skills.  As Montessori educators, we help the child to focus her attention to the sound of her own speech, making fine distinctions between sounds.  From our attention in oral language development emerges the child’s need to write.  Written symbols are introduced and from there, the child bursts spontaneously into reading.  The curriculum focuses on the pivotal components of language:

  • recognising the written symbols of letters
  • learning the phonetic sounds of letters
  • combining phonetic sounds to create words
  • practising the fine motor skills required for holding a pencil and writing
  • writing letters, words, and sentences
  • reading short phonetic words
  • recognizing sight words
  • reading sentences and stories
  • understanding the function of the parts of speech
  • composing creative stories

                        
Maria Montessori did not believe that reading, writing, spelling and language should be taught as separate entities. Pre-primary children are immersed in the dynamics of their own language development and the Montessori approach provides a carefully thought-out program to facilitate this process. Oral language acquired since birth is further elaborated and refined through a variety of activities such as songs, games, poems, stories and classified language cards. 
        
          

Indirect preparation for writing begins with the practical life exercises and sensorial training. Muscular movement and fine motor skills are developed along with the ability of the child to distinguish the sounds which make up language. With this spoken language background the directress begins to present the alphabet symbols to the child. Not only can children hear and see sounds but they can feel them by tracing the sandpaper letters. When a number of letters have been learned the movable alphabet is introduced. These cardboard or wooden letters enable the child to reproduce his or her own words, then phrases, sentences and finally stories.  Creativity is encouraged and the child grows in appreciation of the mystery and power of language.  

                              

Italian in Stage 1
During term one, Stage 1 started an introduction to Italian with Simona.  They have learnt to greet their teacher in Italian and sing a welcome song in the language.  They sing their welcome song "Ciao Buongiorno" at the beginning of their lesson each week.   They have also learnt how to introduce themselves in Italian (My name is ....) as well as how to count to ten and say the colours.   This term we have started a new topic about animals.   The children are currently learning the words for animals in Italian and they are learning how to sing "Old McDonald had a farm".   The students learn through songs, flashcards, stories and movement.   Each week we finish our lesson with an Italian story time which is relevant to the topic we have been exploring that day.

 

IB Update

Term 2 has been a busy one in the IB! After the whirlwind Fiji service learning trip (which featured in previous editions of the Elmonti), the students have a renewed sense of focus, and the Year 12 students in particular are working hard to complete their numerous pieces of internal assessment coursework for the IB. Several of the students have also been busy with further service learning initiatives through our CAS program, helping out at the French Film festival (Lil, Jackson, and Holly), as well as assisting with ‘Comicgong’, raising money for community members in need (Jackson).

Week 3 saw us attend the Illawarra School’s Careers Expo, which was an excellent opportunity for students to talk to representatives from a range of different Universities, as well as TAFE, the Defence Force, the Police force, and private colleges. This was a valuable experience for our students to help them clarify their career choices, and provide them with some direction for further study or employment once they have graduated. 

Today our Year 12 French Ab Intio students participated in a French cooking experience, making Belgian Waffles – and conducted the entire cooking lesson in French!

In week 10, on Wednesday 28th June at 6pm, we will be holding an IB and HSC information session for parents and students. This will be an important session, particularly for our Year 10 students, in order to help them decide which program they will enrol in to best suit their needs for the 2018/2019 academic cycle.

Student in the spotlight – Jack Hopkins!

My name is Jack Hopkins, and I am the vice-captain of the Australian U19 Underwater Hockey Team. I am one of the youngest on a team of 12, ranging from 16-19 years old. I was selected for the team in the 2017 National competition and since then I have been to two training camps in Tasmania and Perth. The World Competition will take place in July, in Tasmania. This will be my first “Worlds”. The competition will be about nine days with one or two games a day. In the past Australia has been the strongest country in the world with its gold medal collection being almost double than the nearest competitor. This year will include many strong competitors such as South Africa, New Zealand, Columbia and America and it is sure to be a tough competition all around.

A week of my training will usually consist of three to four swim sessions generally 2.5-3 kilometres, three hockey sessions, of which two are in Sydney and finally four cardio or strengths sessions in order to keep a balanced routine. So a typical week will usually be about ten to thirteen training sessions, roughly 15-20 hours of training a week including travel time etc. For me the greatest difficulty has been coordinating my excessive training with my school and an attempt to maintain a social life…. The IB, being as rigorous as it is, has at time been difficult to manage alongside my sporting commitments, however throughout it I have found that the most important thing has been having an attitude of accountability, with regard to both my hockey training and my studies.

 

 

 

High School News

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Paul Marriott, the Police School Liaison Officer, spent a morning speaking with students in Years 7-10 around a range of Cybersafety issues. It was reassuring to see the students very engaged in what he had to say and to stay back to gain further clarification. His time with Year 11 and 12 was more private  and focused around a broader range of issues, in order for students to ask more candid questions.

Occupations sees the continuation of our reading program where we work with Stage 2 and 3 students in a reading program for 20 minutes each Wednesday. The High School students report seeing  progress in their buddy's reading and many have really developed a keen interest in their reading partner. The High School students continue to cook and plan as well as help out across the school in a number of capacities. Currently, our priority is the building of the pizza oven where one group has been given the brief and developed a timeline and budget to make the project happen. Our chickens continue to be happy and reasonably productive for the season. Students have been maintaining the barbecue, which has benefitted from some much needed TLC, as they noted after Mothers' Day, when students cooked a delicious breakfast for our mums who could attend.

During sport sessions, students have been hiking up Mt Keira, attempting to build up their fitness and this last week, also used the opportunity to develop a practical application to study contours in the landscape. Weather permitting, we hope to join Sydney Montessori School on a hike from Heathcote to Karloo pools this Thursday. Students are reluctant given the challenge of the 26km earlier this year but the 10km round trip will be sure to be a breeze and affirm their developing fitness. 

Students are involved in a broad range of learning activities at present. Free Will and Determinism and Mind-Body dualism has been our focus in the lead-up to our study of "The Matrix" in Philosophy. Some students are in the final stages of a compilation of a short story anthology (stay tuned) whilst others are immersed in Popular culture and revisiting key periods in our History. Our Mathematicians persist in their explorations whilst Stage 5 explore the practical applications of Physics. Stage 4 Music are studying Jazz and there are some murmurs of a possible performance opportunity for all students later in the term.

Year 6 students will visit the High School this Friday. We have a range of activities planned as part of an integrated programme.

Events that we look forward to this term, some of which students are planning include:

World Vision Future leaders conference at Sydney Convention Centre on Tuesday June 13th. 

Stage 4 Excursion to Pompeii exhibition at the Maritime Museum, Sydney on Wednesday, June 28th.

The Elonera sleep out in Week 8. Start hoarding those cardboard boxes to stave off the winter cold to raise funds and awareness for homelessness.

Long Day Care News

Preparation of the Hand

As we have just recently had our Montessori Material Parent Session on Language, I thought it was a great opportunity to talk about Preparation of the Hand.  Everything that we do in the Montessori classroom has a direct purpose and a lot of what we do in the Toddler Program is preparation of the hand for writing.

"He does it with his hands, by experience, first in play and then through work. The hands are the instruments of man's intelligence." (The Absorbent Mind, p. 25)

Practical life materials interest the child as there is the great reward of food, but at the same time the hands are being rewarded by new sensations and activities such as peeling, squeezing, juicing, grating, cutting, pouring, etc.  Each one of these activities involves a cooperation of the hands to achieve the desired result. 

Our Sensorial materials are designed to encourage  the children to develop their pincer grip (amongst other things). There are many places in the classroom that encourage this particular hand placement, such as puzzles, parts of the fish, parts of the flower, cylinder blocks, pegging, posting, etc.  The list is endless as repetition is the key.

The outdoor environment is another important component of preparation of the hand, where we look at different ball skills each week which help develop hand-eye coordination.

Be Prepared To Think - Project at Elonera Montessori School

During the next 4 weeks teachers at Elonera will be involved in the Be Prepared To Think pilot study. The purpose of this school based initiative is to present specific thinking lessons or sections of lessons according to a set of similar strategies across all subjects and stages. Last Wednesday, 10th May, the program was introduced by members of staff and well received by the 40 parents from all stages from Long Day Care to Year 12 who attended. The programme included description and application of empathy strategies such as withholding information, perspective taking and changing, building a thinking platform and ‘surfing on ambiguity’ as well as recent thinking research and its implications for Montessori education. A pleasing feature of the enthusiastic discussion and feedback has been the link that has already been made by many with similar parenting roles. After teachers have completed their analysis we are looking forward to passing on the results of this study to parents across the school for further collaboration and feedback.

Stage 1 News

Culture and Science

All children have an inherent curiosity about our world, and the hands-on and exploratory activities and experiments included in the 3–6 Culture and Science manual build upon the children’s connections to the earth, to nature, and to others. Montessori’s early childhood program supports children in their quest to understand the world and themselves by allowing them to explore the world directly, both within the Montessori environment and in the larger world. This curriculum demonstrates the scientific method as the means to explore the world objectively and provides an organized scientific account of the world covering all the major fields of study, including:

  • Cosmic education and peace in early childhood
  • Montessori activities such as circle time, the three-period lesson, matching Nomenclature Cards, and exploring the nature table
  • Geography – explores physical and cultural geography with Montessori Globes, Land and Water Forms, Puzzles Maps, and Flags of the World
  • History – explores the passage of time and appreciates personal history by examining birthdays, personal timelines, family trees, and the changing seasons
  • Zoology – explores living and non-living things, differences between plants and animals, caring for classroom animals, and the five classes of animals
  • Botany – explores the role and purpose of plants in the world. This child cantered curriculum introduces the plant and its parts using live plants
  • Science – hands-on experiments provide active participation with trial and error, exploring natural laws such as magnetism, buoyancy, evaporation and light and colour

Fiji CAS Service Learning Trip

The children at Tao school were very appreciative of their art and craft lesson that was well prepared and planned by our students, this was the first time these children had ever sewn and they all got to take home a soft stuffed toy they had designed and made. The rest of our students taught their Aussie Rules lessons to year 6 children outside. All represented our school very well sharing their hearts and expertise with theTao village children and were rewarded with Fijian smiles and new friendships.

Our first activity of the day involved Momi kayaking along the bay shoreline and up the mangrove river which was a two hour round trip. This activity involved both physical and mental perseverance and determination for many of our students. They were given the opportunity to get a lift in the accompanying boat if they got tired however they worked together as a team supporting each other with encouragement to make it to our destination. Later in the afternoon students experienced Fijian mud pools and natural hot springs.

An early morning start began with a trip to the only national park in Fiji where we began our two hour hike through the sacred Forrest full of medicinal plants and over the sand dunes. Our ranger guide informed us of the precious Eco system in that part of the island. All students demonstrated commitment and perseverance during this unique experience.

Building sustainable futures was the purpose of this beach clean up, students learnt last year about the impact plastic waste has on our local and global societies and this was their opportunity to take action and try to reduce their ecological footprints. Throughout the trip students drank from reusable drink bottles, stayed at an Eco lodge and collected two garbage bags of plastic waste from the national park beach demonstrating engagement with global issues first hand.

Students worked at the Ratu Nemani School for two days mixing cement and constructing a school dining hall which will also be hired out to local communities after completion allowing the school to purchase their own much needed basic supplies.
Students then worked hard exploring new possibilities, embracing new challenges and adapting to new roles. They learned the art of rendering the school dining hall. This hall will provide a shady area for students to eat on hot days and shelter if there is a cyclone in the area.

The children at Ratu Nemani school do not have shoes so providing a tiled toilet block protects their feet from sharp surfaces and clean from mud in the rain. Our students worked very hard to tile the whole outside area of the block demonstrating that challenges have been undertaken, developing new skills in the process.

To ensure that the local village was self sufficient we constructed a chicken coop that provides nesting boxes for up to 18 hens, this was to be given to the community along with chickens and feed which will revise food and income for the Ratu Nemani village. Here our students demonstrated new carpentry skills and recognised the benefits of working collaboratively while showing awareness of the consequences of choices and actions throughout the experience.

Sara Colville
Team Leader - Fiji CAS Service Learning Trip

For one week of our holiday, myself and other students traveled to Fiji, with the aim of providing help to the local communities. During this trip, we engaged in various cultural experiences with the people and the country itself. One of the things that surprised our group so much was how happy the Fijian people were. Even though when we went to some of their houses and schools, observing their torn shoes and clothes, yet every time we said hello or even looked at them, there would be a cheery reply of “bula” (hello), to which our entire bus of students would yell the same out the window. I think the most impactful experience for nearly all of the students was when cooked and distributed food for the local womens shelter. As soon as we arrived we were greeted with warm hellos, toured around the area and then taken to the food hall, where we received a prayer from one of the local women. In this instance, and the others during the week, we were able to make a connection with the people in the short time that we had, and to us that was one of the most rewarding parts of the trip. I feel that I really gained an appreciation for the things that we have in Australia, as compared to the lack of them in Fiji. I also widened my view on the hardships that some people face and how there are so many things that I can do to help, and something as little as a “hello” can make all the difference to someone.
— Jack Hopkins, Year 12 IB

High School News

 

The High School have been quite active in Occupations. Some 20 students have been working with Stage 2 and 3 students in a reading program for 20 minutes each Wednesday. It is lovely to watch the care and calm in their exchanges. Aside from cooking and planning for 40 people each week, students have also been taking part in some maintenance work, pruning the olive tree, mulching the branches and painting the front railing outside the art room. This is very valuable work which will continue next term, with a special project being the design and construction of our pizza oven.

Students have been involved in a number of other projects throughout the school. Stage 4 presented an activity for International Women's Day to Stage 3, and a group of Stage 5 students presented on Black matter. In class, Last Friday saw the preparations for battle in Harvey's Castle siege activity and Stage 5 Philosophy have been transported back to Plato's time to consider his ideas on Forms, true knowledge, the immortality of the soul and the equality of women.

Term 1 progress reports were sent out last Friday. These are a reflection of the calibre of students we have at Elonera as well as of the staff who work with them. Comments were insightful and reflected a real knowledge and effort to capture a whole picture of our students. Please feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss any aspects of the report. 

A thank you to the students who attended our High School information evening for Primary families. Your being there would have sent a very positive message to visiting families.  Kayla, Abby, Heather and Abbey were excellent ambassadors.

Year 5 students visited the High School last week for a "Bath Bomb" morning. Their work was based around the making and study of bath bombs with emphasis on Science, Maths, History and English.   Attached are Lianha's and Hiba's poems "Bombs in the Bath" made up of a cut-up poetry activity from a class brainstorm. Student feedback was very positive with requests for more visits. It was a pleasure to host such enthusiastic and wiling students. 

To end off our report but still in the spirit of poetry are the works of two Year 7 students who along with their peers in Stage 4, have created some beautiful poems modelled on a poem called "Woman of the Future" by Cathy Wary. 


I am a child

I am the things of my past

The intelligence of my mother and the strength of my father

I am all I see

   Girls talking to each other while boys play outside

   Boys talking about video games and girls talking about TV shows

I am all I hear

   "Look you have to look after your brother"

   "Fine!"

    Fires raging and water tearing up the landscape

I am all I feel and taste

   Tough and soft with the wind wiping my face

I am all I remember

    I remember coming up out of my hiding place at the wrong time and seeing     death staring me in face

Then without a word walks up to me and places an ice cold hand on my head  

I am all I've been taught 

    Smoking will kill you very quickly

    Use life to its full extent

I am all I think 

    Secrets and lies

I am all those things

I am like a fire waiting to either keep burning or to be put out

I am a kid of the future.

                                        by Jack Penrose

 

Girl of the Past

 

I am a child.

OI am all the things of the past. 

I am the curls of my mother's hair.

Ii am the temper of my dad

     flaring up at stupid politicians.

I am all I see.

     Boys playing handball.

     Girls giggling and laughing,

     at silly things

     Radio hosts discussing the 

     latest celebrity scandal.

     Worrying about the weather 

     and the environment.

     Great bands affecting the world 

     with hard truth lullabies.

I am all I hear.

     "Feed the animals, you wanted them!"

     "Don't let them get to you."

     "All they want is a reaction>"

     Birds chirping in cool, crystal

     Autumn air,

     My hair whipping into my face 

     as a silent sea breeze blows.

I am all I feel and taste. 

     Crackling leaves under my feet.

     Slippery slopes with muddy gorges

     below.

     Sticks and stones under my

     bare feet, digging in to leave

     permanent scars.

And all I remember

     A swimming pool in afternoon shade. 

     Tall tree, standing to greet me,

     as a swing sways, gently inviting

     me into an adventure.

     I was flying in those moment.

     Just like Superman.

I am all I've been taught

     "I" before "E" except after "C".

     Mental health is not an accident, or a one way

     trip. You can start again if you try.

I am all I think.

     Secrets.

     Never to be known.

I was all those things.

But now I am flying.

those things were a metal cage

To a bird who never saw the light of day.

     Has spread its wings and flew.

     Because I'm a girl of the past. 

                                 by Laura Smith

Outside time

Children in the LDC always love playing outside. One of their favourite games to play is “Hide and Seek”. Not only is it fun for the children but it also has other cognitive and emotional benefits. It helps the children to use their imagination and help develop problem solving skills, such as where the best place to hide is and how to find their friends. It also fosters social and emotional development as most of the students join in on the game, which strengthens their bonds with their peers; they also learn to take turns and how to work as a team to find the remaining hiding children.

The LDC also recently acquired a slide for the children to play on. The children have once again shown how amazing their imaginations are. They have not only used it as a slide, but they have also enjoyed walking up down the slide improving their balance and coordination; they have enjoyed rolling balls along the length of the slide and testing their strength to see if the ball will make it to the other side; they have also enjoyed pushing cars down the slide, testing gravity; the slide has also taken the form of boat, when most of the students sat on the slide,  pretended to use a rake or a broom as paddle and sang ‘Row, Row, Row your Boat’.

Inside time

Recently the school celebrated ‘Harmony Day’. While the children in the LDC did not go to the hall for the poems and the speeches, we did celebrate in our own special way. The children coloured in the template of a man in different colours to represent the different ethnicities of not only our school but the whole world. We then made a little banner with the figures, sticking them together holding hands representing peace and harmony for all people.

Another one of the children’s favourite indoor activities is listening to stories. Sometimes the children take a book and sit on their own, looking at the picture, recalling the story which has previously been read to them or using the pictures to make up their own story. Other times, the children enjoy gathering around and listening to a story or nursery rhyme as a group. Listening to stories has numerous benefits for the children. It helps increase their vocabulary and attention span; it helps the children learn about the world around them; it helps children deal with real life problems and emotions; And instils a love of books and reading.

Primary News

International Mother Tongue Day

International Mother Tongue Day was a great success for Primary. Children brought in foods from their cultural backgrounds to share, and we had a multicultural feast with foods from Greece, Italy, India, Pakistan, Serbia, the U.K., Germany and more! The children all sat together to eat so they could share in the experience as a group. In the Stage 3 classroom, we shared the recipes with the class and also had the high school visit to discuss the history and importance of Mother Tongue Day.

School Fete

Despite less than desirable weather, the school fete was a big success with Primary making important contributions in raising funds for the school. Students in Stage 2 supplied jelly cups and home-made lemonade, while students in Stage 3 contributed with individual initiatives. Primary was generously supported by parents and students volunteering their time and resources and we are grateful for your help, as well as everyone who attended on the day.

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Bowling

Students are being treated to five weeks of bowling on Monday afternoons throughout this term. Bowling is a social and widely enjoyed sport that caters for all abilities. Now three weeks in, students have been developing their skills and learning the details of this sport. Importantly, they have also been having a lot of fun.

Stage 1 News

The Importance of Sensorial Activities in the Montessori Preschool Classroom

The word sensorial is derived from the word sense. It refers to the sensation that a sense sends to the brain at the time of receiving a stimulus from the environment. So that the Sensorial exercises are those exercise which sharpen the ability to use the senses. 

Importance of sensorial exercises:

Sensorial exercises are very important for children.  The child needs to acquire clear, conscious, information that one can perceive from the environment.  So, in order to get better abilities to use senses, sensorial exercises are important. These exercises enable the child to adjust in all kind of circumstances. During the sensitive period (0-7) of development, the child develops his sensorial development very rapidly. Sensorial exercises enable the child to make decisions and learn fast. Through sensorial exercises, the child begins to understand her environment.  Dr. Montessori said that:

“The senses, being explorers of the world, open the way to knowledge. Our apparatus for educating the senses offers the child a key to guide her explorations of the world, they cast a light upon it which makes visible to her more things in greater detail than she could see in the dark, or uneducated state."
The Absorbent Mind p 167, Chap 17

The child has an inner urge to explore this world through their five senses. Sensorial exercises have materials and activities related to the functions of five senses for example discriminate the size and shape, colour, and patterns etc. these activities help her in development.

Sensorial exercises have a great influence on intelligence and ability to read, write and do anything. For example, the child could not differentiate between the letters b or even p. He claims that the words are same. Because he cannot distinguish between lines, shapes and position. Sensorial exercises help him to distinguish between them.

 Groups in senses:

Senses are grouped in eight categories due to the size, shape, composition, texture, loudness or softness, matching, weight, temperature etc.  These are:

Visual sense:

The children learn to visually discriminate differences between similar and different objects.

Tactile sense:

Children learn through their sense of touch.

 Baric sense:

Children learn to sense the difference of pressure or weight of different objects. This sense is sharp through the use of a band or of closing your eyes.

Thermic sense:

In this exercise the child works to enhance his sense of temperature.

Auditory sense:

The child can differentiate between different sounds through auditory sense. Thorough practicing these auditory exercises, children can improve their sense of hearing.

Gustatory sense:

The child learns to differentiate between different tastes.

Stereo gnostic Sense:

In this exercise a child learns to feel objects and make recognitions based on what he feels. 

“When the hand and arm are moved about an object, an impression of movement is added to that touch. Such an impression is attributed to a special, sixth sense, which is called a muscular sense, and which permits many impressions to be stored in a “muscular memory”, which recalls movements that have been made”. ((Montessori, Maria (1997) the Discovery of the Child, Oxford, England: Clio Press)

Through these categories, the child experiences her first steps in organizing her intelligence. The child needs to master all of the senses. She is conscious and able to perceive her environment more effectively.   Dr. Maria Montessori believed that senses are developed from birth.

IB News

It has been a great start to the year for our IB Diploma Students, albeit a very busy one! Following on from the outstanding results of last year’s IB students (with a top ATAR of 92), the Year 12’s have a renewed sense of focus and a determination to do their best. This year we welcomed Holly and Jackson into Year 11, and they have proven themselves as being a great addition to our IB family!
This term has been a busy one already, with students having the opportunity to engage in three excursions. In week one, the Visual Art students visited the Wollongong City Gallery to see works by artist Tony Ameneiro, and last week they ventured to Hazlehurst regional art gallery where they developed their understanding of artist and curatorial practices. In week three, both the Year 11 and Year 12 students visited the University of Wollongong Library so that they could renew their membership cards, and search for resources for their extended essays.
This week on Thursday evening, we have our Fiji Trip information evening with Rustic Pathways. This trip is part of the service learning component built into the CAS programme, and aims to develop in students the learner profile attributes, and to allow them the opportunity to engage in a project of global significance.